Raising a Heart Warrior

In case you missed it, I am the mother of a heart warrior. What does that mean? It means that my daughter lives with a permanent, rare, extremely serious heart condition. It means that she will continue to battle against this condition, every day, for the rest of her life. It can be daunting, but as usual, my heart warrior has a way of putting things in perspective.

Like last weekend.

I have a little girl (same one) who loves the Strawberry Festival that comes to this area every year in the spring. She talks about it from the day after she attends until the day she gets to go again. She saves up her money. She arranges her schedule. She makes endless plans. I am at a loss for words when it comes to describing how much attending this festival means to her. I might call her borderline obsessed, but she’s not really. She just loves how carefree she feels when she is there.

The Strawberry Festival is not something that I particularly enjoy.  I do, however, love a good amusement park. I’m a big fan of the rides that involve some form of free-fall. I have been known to enjoy a roller coaster or two. I even like the rides where you get doused with a wave of water at the end. Unfortunately, I don’t feel the same about the smaller, slightly more grungy forms of park amusement. To be honest, just thinking about them makes my skin crawl a little.

Not true for my heart warrior. She soaks up every minute.

I worry about her enough as it is. Do I really need to think about all the things she could come into contact with at a fair? Do I really need to worry about how her heart handles all that excitement? Shouldn’t I put my foot down and tell her not to go?

No, I shouldn’t. And here’s why.

Because she’s the one that taught me that even when your life is lived on the edge of death, you don’t have to afraid to live. You can embrace every moment of the life given back to you. You can still have fun.

I could try to describe this more. I could try to explain it better. But thankfully, I have a photo that says it all. A picture really is worth a thousand words.

StrawberryFest_blurry.jpg

Enough said.

©2016 Betts Keating. All rights reserved.

______________________________________________________________

MMMSN_cover_chair_3d

Read more of Betts Keating’s story in her memoir, My Movie Memoir Screenplay Novel, available for purchase at amazon.com.

Click the FOLLOW button to follow this blog.

Advertisements

Stories Are Gifts… Share

I was interviewed! And I’m okay with it.

Click the link to read an interview of me on the Relevant Pages Press blog.

http://www.relevantpagespressllc.com/#!Stories-are-GiftsSHARE/mwxay/571520a70cf2b05e61f43ffc

 

©2016 Betts Keating. All rights reserved.

______________________________________________________________

MMMSN_cover_chair_3d

Read more of Betts Keating’s story in her memoir, My Movie Memoir Screenplay Novel, available for purchase at amazon.com.

Click the FOLLOW button to follow this blog.

The Critical Need for Critique Groups

Writing a book, any kind of book, is a challenge. Writing a memoir is similar to pulling out your nose hairs – painful with a lot of tears. Writing a memoir interrupted by movie scenes… well… that’s a horse of a different color.

I really struggled in the early days of writing my book. It was difficult to find a way to get this story out. It was painful to work through it all again. It was exhausting. Most importantly, I struggled to find my hook… my angle… my something different. I knew I was really going to have to come up with something extra creative to help my story and me.

I was sitting in my car at a red light when I had my moment of divine inspiration. In an almost audible voice I thought/heard, “You could write them (the hard parts) as movie scenes.”

I almost rolled down the window and asked the guy next to me, “Did you hear that?”

didyouhearthat

But I didn’t. He didn’t seem to be listening to the same inner voice I was. I got the feeling he wouldn’t have welcomed my interruption.

Meanwhile, back in my car where it made perfect sense to hear inner voices out loud, I was celebrating.

That’s it! Movie scenes! Of course!

It’s perfect.

Except…

I wasn’t exactly sure how to make that work. I was already struggling to get the words down on paper in the first place. How was I ever going to flip back and forth from movie scenes to story and back to movie scenes again?

I have to be honest. My first few attempts were a mess. That’s why I am grateful for my critique group.

Most of the people in my group could slog through the mess and see where my head and my heart were going. They continued to cheer me on. They told me what I was writing was worth reading. They agreed that my overly audible and somewhat pushy inner voice might be on to something. Something good. They told me to keep going.

However, one person was not on board with my fantastical moment of translucent clarity. She hated it. And she unabashedly shared her opinion with me – over and over and over again. Almost every time I submitted a writing sample, she would lay my pages down on the table with what appeared to be a weighted thump and proclaim, “It’s not working. I don’t get it.”

Ouch.

I could have taken what she said personally. I could have given up. But I knew she wasn’t insulting me as a person. She really and truly could not see my voice. It was too confusing.

Ultimately, she motivated me to keep working. I wanted to get it right. I wanted to win her over. I am stubborn that way.

After several months of working, we finally had a breakthrough. That day I had submitted the “scene” from my book where I hand over my baby daughter to the cardiac surgeons for the first time. With tears in her eyes she gently handed my pages back to me and said, “Okay. Now I get it. Keep going. It’s beautiful.”

Music to my ears. And with that stamp of approval I finally found my rhythm for this book. I finally found my voice.

I am completely indebted to my critique group both for their encouragement and for their honest criticism. They helped me learn how to write. And they stuck by me until I got it right. I never would have finished this book without them.

Thanks, ladies. You know who you are.

 

©2016 Betts Keating. All rights reserved.

______________________________________________________________

MMMSN_cover_chair_3d

Read more of Betts Keating’s story in her memoir, My Movie Memoir Screenplay Novel, available for purchase at amazon.com.

Click the FOLLOW button to follow this blog.